Despite the weekend, I didn’t get to enjoy a lie in on Saturday, because I was helping out Kraken Crumpets once again – at the opening of the very first H&M Store in New Zealand. The shop had hired the food van to provide complimentary crumpets, coffee and iced tea to the first 1000 customers for the last 4 hours before the shop opened. Considering some of said customers had been waiting since 9pm Friday night, it was going to be highly sought after sustenance.
Unfortunately, that also meant I had to be up at 5am in order to catch a ride at 6. No trains or buses were running that early in the morning, so had to get ready and hike up Queen Street to the top of K Road in order to meet Kim, and headed out towards Sylvia Park shopping centre.
We had a pretty large crew this morning. Four members of H&M as volunteers, in addition to four new faces to handle the coffee, we were planning to be moving constantly once things got going. As I have no barista experience, I was inside the food van with Hamish. Rather than cooking giant crumpets to order, we were doing mini, flower-shaped crumpets topped with berry compote and mascarpone cream. They’d be carried out to customers along with a bowl of bliss balls for anyone not interested in the crumpets, in addition to those carrying the drinks. At 7am, we started serving the front of the line, and braced ourselves for a busy 3 hours.
The mini-crumpets (all 660 of them) had been pre-cooked beforehand. My job was to get them on the hot plate, flip them over after a few minutes, then flip again just to warm them up and get them fully cooked and crunchy. Once we had 12 ready, they were tossed onto a plate, and topped with the handmade toppings before getting sent out into the queue.
Ironically, it turned out we were a little too efficient – the crumpets got to the end of the queue before the drinks got half way, and we had to stop cooking them so they wouldn’t go cold and go to waste. Ended up helping Amy with the iced teas while we waited long enough for new people to join the queue. Helped carry out a few too – line was starting to curl around the shopping centre by this point.
We had to stop serving drinks at 9:10, but the organizer asked us to keep providing crumpets up until the shop opened, so we got back to cooking while the barista’s cleaned up, and sent out another 100 or so crumpets to the late arrivals who were pleasantly delighted at the snack.
Finally, the doors opened, and the pool of people flew into the store while I started on the washing up. Only got a small chunk of it done though, before Kim was ready to head off and I had to leave or lose my ride. I’d already been here an hour over what they’d planned though, and they only had the van left to clean as the barista station was packed up, so left them to it.
So by 11am on Saturday, I’d had 4 hours of work. The downside was I started so early, I was too exhausted to do anything else with my day. I’d contemplated going to the zoo, but by the time I got back to the hostel, I figured I’d barely get 4 hours there. Plus, looked like it might rain, so instead spent the afternoon planning what I’d do in the South (and how much money I’d need for it – answer was the expected 3K) and researching my future trip to Canada.
I’d ‘wanted’ to fly out in January, spend a few weeks in Burma or Nepal, then go visit my mother, before hopping home for a quick visit and then fly out. However, a few quick estimates made it clear that was NOT going to be an option. Both countries cost a fortune to fly to from Auckland, and just aren’t feasible. However, I don’t want to go to Canada until March, so I need to figure out something in the Jan-Mar section that my visa doesn’t cover. I could get an extension – either the second year or a harvest visa – but if Kiwi Picking and my earlier stay proved, there’s no guarantee I’ll get any work, or I could go to the UK and try my luck working in a supermarket (but again, no guarantee I’ll get it).
Right now, my most favourable plan is flying to Brisbane, volunteering at the parrot sanctuary for about a month, before flying to my mother’s, and then flying to the UK for a short trip. It’s a lot more affordable, though does mean I’m going without pay for 2 months – though it’s not like I’m guaranteed work anyway. Least this way I’m guaranteed to have a good time.